Ed Woodward has resigned as executive vice-chairman of Manchester United following the backlash to the Super League.
The Manchester Evening News understands Woodward was contemplating stepping down in 2021 after finalising the club's restructure. Woodward will still continue in his role until the end of 2021, despite tendering his resignation.
But Woodward has suddenly stepped down after a severe backlash against the club's involvement in the Super League. The United players were made aware before news leaked online.
United sources refused to confirm Woodward's departure as it was 'market sensitive'. The club insists Woodward was always due to leave at the end of the calendar year and have only decided to bring the announcement forward.
The news emerged on a fraught evening for the Super League as Chelsea and Manchester City withdrew from the widely-denounced breakaway league.
Woodward became the de facto chief executive of United in 2013, replacing David Gill, and he will be remembered as the common denominator during eight years of mainly failure in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
Managers David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all clashed with Woodward, with Moyes particularly aggrieved by United's amateurish dealings in the 2013 summer transfer window, when they failed with pursuits of Cesc Fabregas, Leighton Baines, Gareth Bale, and Ander Herrera, among others.
Van Gaal later described Woodward as an 'evil genius' and a source close to Mourinho said Woodward 'f----d up deals'. So far, United have spent £941.4million in transfer fees on Woodward's watch.
United have finished seventh, fourth, fifth, sixth, second, sixth, and third in the seven Premier League campaigns since Ferguson stepped down as manager and are currently second under incumbent manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The club has endured five trophyless seasons in the last seven on Woodward's watch and last month he oversaw the final stage of United's restructure, appointing John Murtough as football director and Darren Fletcher as technical director.
Richard Arnold, United's managing director, could replace Woodward. The pair met at the University of Bristol.